1898 Cuban Revolution

The makeup of Cuba in the late
nineteenth century is much the same as it is today. Nearly
66% of the population are white and of Spanish descent.

About 22% are of mixed racial heritage, and 12% of the
populace is black. Cuba lies to the south of the United
States, and is most easily accessible by boat from the
Florida region. It is this naval quality that encompasses the
island. During the Ten Years War, between 1868-1878,
the Cubans fought against Spanish rule in their country.

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Rebellion broke out around the island, and the rebels
joined under a united leader, Carlos de Cespedes, a
wealthy planter, who proclaimed independence from Spain.

Nearly 200,000 lives were lost, until the Treaty of El
Zanjun was signed. This agreement promised the
government would reform and abolish slavery and the
tyrannical rule it held over the Cubans. The treaty was not
honored however, and resistance was again put up in
1885. The Spanish king at the time Alfonso XIII,
encouraged the use of concentration camps for
revolutionaries caught in battle. The Cuban Revolution
became extremely bloody due to the use of Guerrilla
warfare. This military operation, conducted on its home
terrain, consisted of inhabitants fed up with oppressive rule.

The men involved operated from bases located deep in the
jungle, dense forests, and high rocky elevations. Guerrillas
depended on natives for food, shelter, and useful
information. While striking swiftly was a must, the bands of
men were specialized in the undetected raiding of enemy
camps. They could ambush a patrol, kill the soldiers, and
supply their entire company in a matter of hours. Cutting
communication between enemy lines became a prime
target, once severed from the army, a battalion could be
attacked, disarmed, and their reserves used for the
revolutionaries. It was the unfortunate, destitute populace
that rebelled. Having little to lose they could fight on home
turf and soon, much to there delight had help from the
United States. While in port in Havana on February 15,
1898 the U.S. Battleship Maine was sunk by a large
explosion. The Americans declared war on Spain
immediately, attacking all Spanish naval vessels in the area,
marking the beginning of the Spanish-American War.

Finally on July 18, 1898, George Dewey, a U.S. naval
officer commanded the fleet that destroyed Spanish vessels
in Manila. Upon being defeated once again, Spain
surrendered, giving up Cuba and the Philippines as free
countries. Therefore with the help of the United States, and
there own fighting rebellion within the country the
inhabitants of Cuba gained freedom from Spanish
dictatorship, becoming the Cuban Republic in 1901 and
electing Tomas Estrada Palma as president in 1902.

Category: History


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